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Chrome OS: Google In Sync with Robert Bork

Do We Have A Right to Privacy?

"I think that marketers like 'cloud computing' because it is devoid of substantive meaning...perhaps the term 'careless computing' would suit it better." -- Richard Stallman

Chrome OS seems like a very bad, and maybe evil, idea. Although I like the Chrome browser--it doesn't seem to be a malware-sieve like IE and it's definitely not a memory hog like FF--I agree with the sentiment that Google's twin motivations for OS are a.) more control over me b.) tweaking Microsoft's nose.

As to a.) I can say I lost faith in Google the day I saw my own car parked in my own driveway on Google Street View. I became homicidally angry for a moment, cooled off a bit, then used the experience as an epiphany as to how badly Google (and their like-minded ilk) were truly invading my privacy.

We're Getting Borked
Justice Robert Bork, in testimony relating to his rejected candidacy for the Supreme Court, famously pointed out that we had no constitutional guarantee to privacy. 

Dammit Jim, I'm a writer, not a lawyer, but my reading of the Fourth Amendment says we do. To wit, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."

Note that this does not say shall not be violated by the government only; it says "shall not be violated." To me, Google's "mapping" of my car in my driveway violated my right to be secure in my person, house, and effects.

Apparently, Eric Schmidt and others at Google lean toward Justice Bork's interpretation. Maybe they can add him to their Board of Directors.
Meet The New BorgAs far as b.) you know, people just have to stop being obsessed with The Borg. This obsession ruined any number of semi-good companies (eg, Wordperfect), and seemingly drove former Sun Microsystems Scott McNealy--who led a very good company--mad.

McNealy went so far to say that he was sure his kids were better-looking than Bill Gates's kids, and he spend an untold percentage of his time thinking about and publicly mocking a company that didn't compete with his.

Scott, the anti-government libertarian, went so far as to testify in front of Congress as to the evils of Redmond. It reminded me of the guy who wants to pay for no government services but whines if the fire department doesn't show up quickly enough.

And now, Google. It is certainly true that these two companies do compete with one another in several areas, and will continue to. But when a company's motivation is to hurt the other guy as much as to help customers, then that company has lost its focus.

We Report, You Decide
Geeks and tech-industry writers won't decide the fate of Chrome OS, though. We are now in an age of consumer-driven IT gadgetry. We slipped over the line from geekdom around the time that the CES show in Las Vegas supplanted Comdex as the place to be.

So consumers will decide whether Chrome OS, and the systems on which it runs, are worth buying. As I understand it, it's initial purpose will be to power low-power notebook computers.

It was interesting to read a Fake Steve column in which he laughed about the sale of only 11 million netbook computers, a figure that may rise to 40 million in a few years. This is a fraction of the almost 1 billion of other PCs, pads, and phones that will be sold. But to an old coot like me, it's hard to grok how the sale of 11 million of anything is not a big deal.

In any case, a pox on Chrome OS.  Not that Richard Stallman cares, as I'm sure he's never heard of me, but I'm with him on this one.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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